Gambling

Immigrant Cancer Patient Wins $1.3B Powerball Jackpot

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Posted on: April 30, 2024, 08:49h. 

Last updated on: April 30, 2024, 08:56h.

An immigrant who’s battling a cancer recurrence came forward Monday to collect on the $1.326 Powerball jackpot he won earlier this month with his wife and friend.

Powerball jackpot cancer patient Oregon Lottery
Cheng “Charlie” Saephan redeems the winning $1.3 billion Powerball jackpot he purchased with his wife and friend on Monday, April 29, 2024. Saephan is battling a cancer recurrence and had prayed for a stroke of luck. (Image: Oregon Lottery)

The winning numbers for the Powerball drawing on April 6 were 22, 27, 44, 52, 69, and red Powerball 9. One of the more than 20 tickets that 46-year-old Cheng “Charlie” Saephan purchased at the Plaid Pantry convenience store located at 6060 NE Columbia Boulevard in Portland on behalf of his wife, 37-year-old Duanpen Saephan, and friend, 55-year-old Laiza Chao, matched the six drawn numbers.

Saephan claimed the life-changing prize at the Oregon Lottery. He told lottery officials he’s battled cancer in the past and is currently fighting a recurrence.

I prayed to God to help me. My kids are young and I’m not that healthy,” Saephan said.

The trio of winners will split the cash option, which amounted to $422.3 million after federal taxes. The Saephans and Chao will each receive 50% of the windfall.

The Plaid Pantry received a $100K bonus commission for selling the ticket, which was easily the richest lottery prize in Oregon history. The previous record was a $340 million jackpot won in 2005.

Win Shines Light on Asian Demographic

Saephan told the media that he was born in Laos but he identifies as Iu Mien, a Southeast Asian ethnic group that originated in China.

Many of its members fled from Laos to Thailand during the Vietnam War before settling in the United States. The Iu Mien people fought alongside the US during the Vietnam War to disrupt the Ho Chi Minh Trail that the North Vietnamese used to transport troops and weapons through Laos and Cambodia to South Vietnam.  

Saephan explained he moved with his family to Thailand in 1987 before immigrating to the US in 1994. He graduated from high school two years later and has lived in Portland for more than 30 years. Saephan has worked as a machinist for an aerospace company, though his time there could be ending after becoming extraordinarily wealthy.

“I will be able to provide for my family and my health,” Saephan said, adding that he plans to find the best doctor for his ongoing treatment.

Saephan said as the Powerball jackpot continued to roll over, he would lay at night praying to win.

I need some help — I don’t want to die yet unless I have done something for my family first,” Saephan explained.

With an abundance of luck and good fortune, Saephan can now rest assured that he’s done more than “something,” a feat that should provide family wealth for generations to come.

Who Is Next?

Powerball and Mega Millions regularly change lives, and the two most popular lottery games in the US are poised to deliver generational wealth in the coming days, weeks, or months.

Tuesday night’s Mega Millions jackpot is an estimated $257 million, with a cash option of $115.6 million. The odds of a ticket matching the six drawn numbers are more than one in 302.5 million.

Wednesday night’s Powerball jackpot is an estimated $178 million, with an $81.3 million cash option. The odds of winning Powerball’s top prize are one in 292.2 million.

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